A superb first-half display, in which Leandro Trossard claimed a hat-trick of assists, was the platform for Mikel Arteta’s 100th win as Gunner boss.
Brazilian duo Gabriel and Gabriel Martinelli scored headers within five minutes of each other to put us in control, and we were rarely troubled from that moment on.
Martin Odegaard expertly tucked home our third in first-half injury-time to give the scoreline the gloss it deserved.
There was more reason for the travelling Arsenal supporters to cheer late on, as Gabriel Jesus made his welcome return to action after four months out with a knee injury.
After a tentative opening 15 minutes or so we started to increase our tempo and had the ball in the net after a fast break on the left. Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka played a one-two to get the Brazilian in behind the defence.
His shot was parried by Bernd Leno into Antonee Robinson and into his own net. Arsenal celebrated but the goal was ruled out for offside in the build up after a VAR review.
We didn’t have to wait too long for the opener though. After winning three corners in succession, the third proved decisive. Leandro Trossard’s inswinging delivery was on the money and Gabriel rose highest to head home.
We were playing with more confidence now, and doubled our lead with another header.
This time the move started inside our own penalty area. Saliba’s sweeping pass forward got us on the attack, Trossard stood up a looping cross to the far post and Martinelli headed in from close range.
On the front foot
It was no more than we deserved, and we went hunting the third. A wonderful passage of combination play between Odegaard, Trassard and Xhaka created the next opportunity. Odegaard’s pass to Xhaka was dummied to Trossard, the Belgian returned a first time pass to Xhaka who had extended his run. But just as he was bearing down on Leno, his touch let him down.
A loose pass out by Aaron Ramsdale nearly gave Fulham a route back into the game, but Andreas Pereira lifted his shot just over.
It didn’t put us off our stride at all. Martinelli forced a save from Leno at the near post before we did eventually increase our advantage.
Trossard yet again was the instigator. His cross fell to Odegaard in the box, and the skipper was coolness personified. He took a touch, then another, shifted into onto his left foot, and slotted it home with ease.
It was the last kick of a scintillating first-half display from Mikel Arteta’s side.
Fulham started the second period in positive fashion, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the target of their attacking intent.
But we retained a huge threat on the break, with Martinelli and Odegaard both seeing shots blocked in the box.
Frequently we were springing into action though, with quick passing combinations. Xhaka’s wonderful touch created another shooting opportunity for Martinelli on the edge of the box, that was well charged down.
Mitrovic thumped a header against the bar for the hosts from a corner and Ramsdale made smart saves from Pereira and Tosin Adarabioyo
Arteta responded by bringing on Gabriel Jesus for his long-awaited comeback from injury. It was the Brazilian’s first of action for us since before the World Cup. He was 120 days out of the team, and looked intent on making up for lost time immediately.
He set up fellow sub Reiss Nelson for a good chance, before having his own shot saved by Leno.
The second half had been a more even affair, but the hard work had already been done, and we re-established our five-point cushion at the top of the table with a commanding authority.
What it means
We restore our five-point advantage over Manchester City in the Premier League table after 27 matches played.
Facts and stats
We have become the first side in English Football League history to win five consecutive London derbies away from home without conceding a goal.
Fulham have lost each of their last 10 Premier League matches against teams starting the day top of the table, scoring three goals while conceding 22 goals in return in these matches.
We have won 72 per cent of our Premier League games against Fulham (23/32), our highest win rate against an opponent we’ve faced 20+ times in the competition.
Fulham have conceded six goals across their last two games in the Premier League, one more than they had conceded in their previous 10 matches combined.
We have scored 24 goals from corner situations in the Premier League since the start of last season, the joint-most of any team along with Liverpool.
Gabriel has scored three goals in four appearances against Fulham, his most against a single side in the division.
Gabriel Martinelli has scored 23 goals in the Premier League, the joint-most of any overseas player for the club before turning 22 years of age, along with Nicolas Anelka.
Leandro Trossard became the first player in Premier League history to assist three goals before half-time in an away match.
We’ve got two more fixtures this week before the international break, both at Emirates Stadium.
On Thursday, we host Sporting CP in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16, after a 2-2 draw in Portugal.
Then we host Crystal Palace next Sunday back in the Premier League before the international hiatus.
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